Broken Tools (was Re: [prog] [C] strings bug)

Mary mary-linuxchix at
Sun Apr 13 11:18:17 EST 2003

Any replies to this thread that aren't related to programming or
software engineering should go to grrltalk at *only*.

On Sun, Apr 13, 2003, Kathryn Andersen wrote:
> Did you know that, in the US, in the days of the railroad barons, when
> there were various different competing railroad companies, that *time*
> wasn't standardized?  Each company kept their own time which their
> trains ran by -- which meant that if you were changing lines, you
> couldn't tell, by looking at the different timetables, whether your
> trains would actually connect or not.

Bill Bryson's "Made in America" describes the situation at length.
People needed to have huge tables at major stations like Chicago to
figure out their connections when connecting between different
companies. Clocks at local railway stations would show two times "rail
time" and "local time".

Pressure from the railway companies eventually forced the government to
standardise (despite a lot of resistance along the lines of "interfering
with nature's time/God's time" that surfaced later when daylight savings
was proposed). Standardisation happened on one day, save for a few
governemtn observatories, which kept different clocks for some years.

I like "Made in America" (which is mainly a discussion of American
English and its context) a lot, and recommend it.


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